Sunday, May 24, 2009


Honey-Almond Scrub
To 1 tsp. unrefined honey, add 1 tsp ground raw almonds. Apply to face and decollete after cleansing, massage in light, circular motions for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Rinse off, apply moisturizer.
Good for dry skin. Use 1-3 x weekly.

Papaya Enzyme Light Peel
Crush enough fresh papaya to make 2 Tbl of pulp. Apply to face and decollete as a mask, after cleansing. Leave on for 3-5 min. Rinse off, apply moisturizer.
Good for delicate skin. Use 1-3 x weekly.

Yogurt-Cucumber mask
Juice enough cucumber to make 1 Tbl juice, add to 1 Tbl plain yogurt. Apply to face and decollete after cleansing. Leave on 3-5 min. Rinse off. Apply moisturizer.
Good for inflammed/ acne-prone skin. Use 1-3 x weekly.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Skincare Choices and Aging

Skincare choices abound, many with "anti-aging" as thier main selling point. While there are alot of substances that may improve skin texture, moisture, etc., it's important to really educate yourself about what each of them actually does. One resource I have found useful is It is a website devoted to selling skin creams, serums and nutriceuticals to apply topically. You can get a good idea of what might address your specific concerns as well as the key ingredients in well-known products.
Another concept you may want to keep in mind is the fact that the skin is basically an eliminative organ. That means that anything you apply to it will be absorbed to some degree and also will need to be dealt with. When you read the ingredients list, if it contains chemical preservatives, colors, perfumes, petroleum-based oils and anything else that couldn't be considered pure or food-grade, your skin has to protect your body from it, as it would any toxin. This is unlikely to nourish or enhance your skin. I feel for a skincare product to promote glowing, healthy skin, it must be formulated with as few toxic chemicals as possible and as many organic ingredients as possible. Some good lines are Dr Haushka, Eminence and Jurlique. Otherwise, creating your own skincare out of wholesome ingredients can be a great option. Some recipes and suggestions next post.


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Aging Well

Anti-aging seems to be the new buzz-phrase for those wishing to optimize thier well-being and appearance after middle age. Can we ever really stop aging without dying? What is it everyone's really after?
It seems to me that the main goal of a well-balanced personality is most likely to age "well"; meaning feeling good, being physically and mentally active, and finally coming to that place in your life where you allow your own innate beauty to shine through. Finally accepting your personal beauty and uniqueness without feeling a need to compare yourself to the average.
I have been reading lately that plastic surgery is going out of vogue (finally), or at least the plastic surgery look is "out". This including the obvious bottle blonde, excessively breasted, pumped lipped, startled eyed, pulled-backed fleshed worshippers of a certain ideal. I read one blog (can't recall the link) that stated "if you want to look over 70, get a facelift". Wow, maybe the tide is turning.
I honestly believe that physical and mental health is the answer to aging well. And those things that add to quality of life are continuous lifelong learning, new experiences, positive relationships with others and development of skills. Travel, develop a personal discipline that makes you happy, offer a hand up to others and honor your body.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

FDA Warning About Facial Fillers

Here's a link to an article about filler (such as restylane and juvederm) risks.

Fortunately, cosmetic acupuncture is free of these risks.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Oriental Face Reading

A very useful diagnostic tool is oriental face reading. TCM theory offers the opportunity to see the condition of a patient's internal organs and overall strength just by looking at thier face. Naturally, a practitioner will also cross-check these findings using other diagnostics such as pulse and tongue readings, questioning the patient and palpation.
The Face from top to bottom:

Fontanelle: Shows the condition of kidney essence
Ridged- (kidney) excess condition
Collapsed- (kidney) deficient condition

Hair and Hairline: Shows the condition of the blood
Thick and lusterous- Strong, rich blood
Dry and brittle- Body fluid deficiency
Falls out easily- blood deficiency
Early greying- Liver blood deficiency
Falls out suddenly in clumps- Blood deficiency affected by wind

Forehead: Intestines and Liver
Horizontal lines across forehead- Dry, deficient intestines, tendancy towards constipation or diarhea
Vertical lines between eyebrows- Liver stagnation, stress, excess liver toxicity

Eyes: All organs' pure jing (stored essence, pre or post-natal) qi reflected
Bright and sparkling- Jing is uninjured and strong
Stiff, unflexible- Deficient jing or wind obstruction
Red sclera- Heat
Cloudy sclera- Dampness
Purplish sclera- Liver wind
Yellow sclera- liver toxicity
Gray, baggy eye sockets- Kidney qi deficiency
Protruding eyes- Heat with mucous, excess yang

Ears: All the meridians connect to the ear (extensive information can be found in the book "Auriculotherapy Manual, 2nd or 3rd edition)
Dry, contracted, grey/ black- Exhausted kidney jing (essential energy)
Red- Heat or wind
Purple- cold, deficient
Pus- Damp-heat in gallbladder
Ear lobes- Full, pendulous indicates that jing is strong
Small, thin, undeveloped indicate that jing is deficient

Nose: Lungs, Heart, Large Intestine & Stomach
Nostrils Moving- Lung heat
Dry nostrils- General heat or dryness
Scorched, black nostrils- Extreme heat
Red- Heat
Red and Swollen- Stomach and spleen damp, heat or congealed blood (sometimes due to excess alcohol)
White- Qi deficiency
Shiny white- Food stagnation

Cheeks: Heart, Lungs, Spleen
Red- Heart or Lung heat (deficient or excess)
Gray- Lung degenerative condition due to toxin/ compromised respiration
Sagging- Spleen qi deficiency

Mouth: Spleen, Kidneys
Shrivelled or wrinkled philtrum- degenerated sex organs (kidney qi and essence deficiency)
Pale- Deficient, cold spleen
Red- Heat
Dry, scorched- Heat injuring fluids
Blue/ green- Cold, pain
Purplish- cold/ congealed blood
Chapped, cracked- Stomach heat
Mouth askew- Wind
Teeth: Kidneys, Excess of Bone
Dry- Stomach heat
Red or swollen gums- St. fire or kidney yin deficiency with fire rising
Grinding- Deficient fire
Infected- Excessive fire

Chin: Strong, well-proportioned, prominent, expresses strong jing & will

Skin: Primarily expresses Shen, Lungs, Spleen
Withered- Injured Fluids
Swollen- Fluid Stagnation
Rashes, raised- Heat, wind invasion
Boils- Fire poisoning
Pimples- heat due to excess combined with wei deficiency
Pale- Blood deficiency
Flushed- Heat
Waxy- Excess oils with spleen deficiency

The above lists are only a representative example of TCM facial diagnosis. There is much more detail and complexity. I think it's fascinating.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Beauty from the Inside Out

Anti-aging is an area of healthcare and esthetics that has been growing since the Boomers became middle-aged and panicky. Everyone wants to look and feel as vibrant as possible as long as possible. That is what cosmetic acupuncture can help you achieve.
The Process:
After a complete TCM (traditional chinese medicine) intake, examination and differential diagnosis, very tiny needles are inserted into the face. Distal points will also be needled to balance all the meridians. Dietary and lifestyle advice are integral as well as a prescription for herbs and/or nutritional supplements to strengthen the constitution. Most practitioners will also discuss proper skin care.
The Commitment:
The initial protocol is 10 sessions within 5 weeks. The maintenence is typically 1x monthly. If the practitioner discovers that you are not healthy enough to benefit cosmetically from the treatment, she will usually offer other options to get you to a greater degree of health before starting the protocol, much the same way a plastic surgeon won't perform a cosmetic procedure on a compromised patient. You will have the best results if you are willing to follow all the practioner's lifestyle recomendations. You will be brought to a place of better health, beauty and balance.
The Results:
Outwardly, wrinkles diminish, skin color evens out, skin glows and achieves a more youthful texture, sags and bags uplift. All naturally, all coming from the inside out.
Inwardly, menstrual and menopausal symptoms balance out, digestion typically improves, as does energy, mood and sleep.
The Science:
Mechanically, the tiny, superficially-inserted needles create micro-traumas that the body will heal with increased collagen production. As any student of biology knows, when there is any compromise to the body's defenses, even something as small as miniscule punctures in the skin, circulation will increase to the area bringing nutrients and white blood cells. This creates an immediate improvement in the appearance of the face.
TCM-wise, the needles are inserted into specific acupuncture points to enhance and raise spleen qi, improve T&T, tonify lung and kidney and balance the yang meridians.
It's good for you, it works and there's no surgery or injection of toxic or synthetic substances.
A TCM note about facelifts:
Any surgery, including a facelift, involves interrupting the flow of qi in the local meridians by cutting into the tissues. This can cause a chronic stagnation of qi in those meridians and ultimately, depletion. If this is not corrected, you will actually age faster than you would've otherwise. From the inside out. Fortunately, cosmetic and traditional acupuncture can be applied to re-establish this flow.